Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~God Never Wastes A Hurt~ June 22, 2015

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“God uses adversity in this life to strengthen your faith.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1Peter 1:6 NIV)

God never wastes a hurt.” ~from sermon “The best of times in the worst of times” Pastor Chad Dunford

It was that last line that comforted me, like a warm hug offered at just the right moment. Read it again and let it resonate, God never wastes a hurt.

I often encourage my kids to refrain from using words like “always” and “never” because of what they imply. To say someone never does such-in-such means, “at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever.” Quite definitive language, wouldn’t you say? Now insert that definition into the aforementioned promise:

God, at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever, wastes a hurt.

Wow.

God does not cause us pain and suffering, it is the result of living in a fallen world. And yet His Word assures us that we will never walk through any tribulation on our own.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 ESV)

Even when we sit alone, certain that no one cares about the tears that stain the carpet….

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Just when we allow ourselves to believe that it will always be this way…..

 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 ESV)

God can take your mourning and turn it into dancing. He can take that hurt that is pressing in on every side and use it to mold and strengthen you and glorify His name. When you think all hope is lost, take comfort in knowing:IMG_8085

God, at no time in the past or future; on no occasion; not ever, wastes a hurt.

 

~My Testimony is More Powerful than Yours~ April 4, 2014

We all know at least one person who had the seemingly perfect childhood and that idealistic life has apparently followed them into adulthood.

  • Their parents have been married all their lives.
  • Growing up, they went to church every time the doors were opened.
  • They did things in the right order-marriage then sex and babies.
  • No substantial loss has ever crossed their paths.

Basically, they’re life would be described as smooth sailing.

So how is it, exactly, that someone who has walked through this life to date completely unscathed supposed to be able to effectively minister to someone?  Because our testimony should be more about the glory of God and His hand in our lives than it is about the struggles we’ve been through, or lack thereof.

Yes, I came from a “broken” home.  Yes, I had a child out of wedlock.  Yes, I struggled with an eating disorder.  Yes, I lost a baby and it broke my heart.  Yes, I was a hot, hot mess and this is only a couple of highlights from a long list of issues.

All of this may be true of the life that I have lived, but when I share with others about my trials, my focus is on God and how He walked me through each and every one and ultimately gave me the victory.  Here is my point:

Don’t discredit someone else’s testimony just because their story doesn’t seem as traumatic as yours.

Each and every one of us has a unique story that when told will minister to different people.  A lot of people can’t possibly relate to what I’ve overcome because they can draw no parallels to my life.  Those people need to hear from you.  Even if you feel as if you have nothing to offer because for the most part, your life has been sunshine & roses, maybe that’s exactly what someone needs to hear….that you don’t have to come from brokenness to live a life on fire for God.  By sharing our individual stories, together, we can reach the far corners of the world for Jesus.  single testimony

“Make sure in your hearts that Christ is Lord. Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect.” (1Peter 3:15)

“My hope is, in you Lord, all the day long.  I won’t be shaken by, drought or storm.  A peace that passes understanding is my song and I sing, my hope is in you Lord.” -Arron Shust lyrics, My Hope Is In You

 

~The Words of Our Testimony~ September 16, 2013

testimonyLast night I had the privilege of sharing my testimony with a small group of young adults.  It was, by far, one of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of since beginning my walk with the Lord.

It was pretty awesome that our pastor had just spoke that morning on the importance of sharing our struggles with others.  After all, what good are we doing anyone by walking around like we’ve got it all figured out?  I can honestly say, that even with this message still playing in my mind, I wasn’t sure that my story could really make any kind of difference.  BUT, I was willing to share.

Once we got going with the interview, God just took over.  I was able to share so much of myself; about who I was, what I’ve gone through, who I am & my hope for what is still to come.  And as I was going through the details of my not-so-fairy-tale past, I got to relive the grace and mercy that God has showered me with over the years.  I was, and I am still, in complete awe of the work that God has done in my life.  Even when I was unaware of His presence, He was with me; protecting me & leading me towards the life that He had planned for me.

I can’t say that I have always known the importance of sharing one’s testimony, but having done so in this setting, I totally get it now.  The feeling of liberation that I experienced afterwards was unreal.  When you lay it all out there for others to see just how big a wreck you used to be, before Jesus, and how much of an impact accepting Him has had on your life, it is not just for their benefit but for yours as well.  Being real about the struggles that we still face, even with Him as the Lord of our lives, shows that we know we are all just a bunch of messed up sinners in need of a Savior…daily, not just a one time “Lord forgive me for everything, amen” kind of Savior.   It opens the door for others to find their way to a full and complete life with Jesus while at the same time reminding us of how far we’ve come with Him in control.

In searching for a Scripture to share that would sum up how I felt about this opportunity to share with others, I came across 2 Corinthians, verses 1-5:

“When I first came to you, dear brothers & sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.  I came to you in weakness-timid and trembling.  And my message and my preaching were very plain.  Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied on the power of the Holy Spirit.  I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”

I pray that each one of us would use our testimony of God’s goodness to help transform the lives of others.  When you become transparent for the sake of growing the Kingdom, you will be amazed at the transformation that takes place in your life.  And even if you never know on this side of eternity the impact that you may have made on someone’s life, one day, it will all be worth when you hear the Lord himself say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

~Reflection~ September 12, 2013

self-reflectionThe leader of our church’s young adult ministry has implemented a pretty interesting teaching technique.  He has asked some members of the church and community to sit in and be interviewed about their lives.  By allowing them to share their testimonies, he is giving these young adults real life examples of how Jesus can take any mess and turn it around.

This chic is up next in the hot seat!  Last night we sat down and did a pre-interview so that he would have an idea of what topics to discuss…and which ones were off limits!  At first I was like, “you want to ask me what?!”  But in my attempt at being completely transparent, I left no area of my ugly past untouched.  We covered it all!  The mistakes, the day I realized enough was enough, the times I still struggled after I accepted Jesus as my savior and my favorite part, the victories.

And it was amazing to me just how much I had forgotten.

All the things that I’ve overcome.

The issues that I still have.

The promises that God has made to me.

The promises that I have made to God.

The past can be a dangerous place to meddle, but when visited for the right reasons, can cause you to reflect on how you became the person that you are right now.  Had I not endured some of the hardships in my younger years, I feel sure I would not be half the woman I am today.  Rehashing some of those things with a neutral party reminded me of many things but most importantly, it reminded me that I am redeemed, set free and have much to give thanks for.  It reignited a flame that I wasn’t even aware had begun to dwindle ever so slightly.

Going in to this project, I will admit I was a bit intimidated about sharing very personal details of my life with people I barely “know.”  However, after my experience last night, I must say I’m really looking forward to sharing my testimony….the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright atrocious…all so that someone else may find the same freedom and peace that I now have the privilege to walk in.

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”

(Galatians 5:13 NLT)

 

~Walking Testimony~ August 15, 2013

“The Lord said,”I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.”

(Exodus 34:10)

God has promised to do such marvelous works in our lives that everyone we come in contact with should be able to see His hand upon us.  Sometimes I feel like this isn’t the case.  Even when God is moving on our behalf and we are blessed beyond measure, strangers and even those we know, don’t necessarily “see” God in our situation.  I happen to think it’s because we don’t always give Him the glory.  We forget to sing His praises when He answers our prayers.  We don’t share our testimony when He’s right on time with the provision that we need.  When He heals our bodies, restores relationships or renews our minds, we neglect to give Him the credit.  If we aren’t acknowledging His power and presence among us, then why would anyone around us, especially those who have yet to accept Him as their savior?

As Christians, we need to be sharing what God has done for us with anyone who will listen.  We need to give Him credit for all the good that comes our way because it all comes from Him.  We would have nothing if not for the grace of God who pours out blessings from Heaven for His children.  Remember that when you have some success, big or small, that if not for God, you would not be who you are where you are today.

Be certain today that those around you see how awesome are the works of the Lord by making it a point to turn the focus to Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

(James 1:17 NIV)